Avalanche artifact moves to new home
An old printing press made the trip across Michigan Avenue Monday with the help of a forklift.
This was one of the last pieces of old equipment moved from the former Crawford County Avalanche office to the Crawford County Historical Museum.
The press will join other Avalanche artifacts in the museum in a new display about the long history of the newspaper.
The Avalanche office was at 102 Michigan Avenue since the early 1970s. The Avalanche moved down the street to its current home at 108 Michigan Avenue a couple of years ago, as part of the planned redevelopment of the far end of Michigan Avenue. But several pieces of historic printing equipment did not make the move.
“Much of the equipment – the printing press in particular – would not fit in our new space” said Teresa Milliman Brandell, publisher of the Avalanche. “It had been in the front window of the 102 building since we moved in there, and always drew a lot of interest from customers and tour groups. It represents some of the tools of the trade, and was a way of showcasing the history of the Avalanche.”
Museum representatives – especially the late Jim Smith – were extremely interested in having much of the old equipment. The Milliman family, which has owned the Avalanche since 1968, donated the equipment to the museum prior to moving from the 102 building.
The next problem was getting the press out of the building. It was decided to wait until demolition was about to begin. As preliminary work has now started, the front of the building was opened up to allow the press to be removed.
A forklift carefully maneuvered the press out of the new opening and across Michigan Avenue to the museum, which had to put in a large new door on the ground floor to receive the press. The press is one of the last pieces to complete the exhibit on the history of the Avalanche and local printing.
“Having this display in the museum was the dream of (the late) Jim Smith,” said Faith Dandois, Vice President of the Crawford County Historical Society. “He really wanted this to happen.”
“He left big shoes to fill,” added Gail Thomas, President of the Crawford County Historical Society. “We really miss him.”
After being closed last year due to COVID restrictions, the museum is planning to be open this year. The exact date of the opening has yet to be determined.